The first annual State of the Santa Barbara Wedding Industry Summit: Define.  Design.  Evolve.  was founded in 2018 with the goal of bringing together an entire industry at a critical transition point in our niche business nationally, as well as in our unique hub of Santa Barbara.   It sold out 3 months in advance.

Based on the feedback we received from last year, as well as continual industry polls, we devised 4 base items as the priority for the 2019 Summit:   1)  Length: participants wanted to go all day long   2)  Longer breaks for conversations and networking  and 3)  Investment price:  90% were comfortable paying $300-$375 for an all-day session.

For 2019, we re-imagined the entire Summit to a whole new level, and decided to curate it to a very specific audience:  the leaders of the Santa Barbara wedding and hospitality industry.  And by “leaders” it does not necessarily mean business owners- it can be anyone who is  passionate about our industry and unique destination wedding & tourism location of Santa Barbara and committed to evolution, ethics, integrity, progress and community.   Therefore, we are allowing only 60 seats – less than half of last year’s sold out attendance.  This is so every participant can receive almost personalized coaching and connection with speakers and each other all day long.


Held at the iconic Music Academy of the West, just off of legendary Channel Drive, this year’s Summit is an investment in balancing the business side of creative business, and with the predicted 2019 wedding downspend happening from now through 2020, getting a head start has never been more important.

From our featured speakers (see below) to our main keynote (who is also giving us a multi-hour workshop) Liene Stevens of Think Splendid (who is followed by wedding celebrity brands and sought after globally for her wedding business coaching applicable to all in the industry), the day has been designed to retreat, refresh, renew and get inspired.

Still need more specifics?  You can read on below and see the agenda, visit the event page on our Website or follow the event on its Facebook page.   I also occasionally post stories on my Instagram page with special previews on the Summit.  Ready to book your Summit Pass?  Our online box office opens to the general industry on Monday, September 16th at 6pm PST.  Summit Passes start at $350 through September 30, then $375 after.   (Think of it this way on the summit fee:  you would pay any one of the professional speakers listed below at least that for one hour of expertise:  this is a whole day with multiple featured experts, food and beverage in an iconic retreat setting, personalized educational experience, and incredible networking opportunities.   It is bound to be one of the best business investments you could make).

2019 Santa Barbara Wedding & Hospitality Industry Summit Agenda & Program

Music Academy of the West

(speakers and content will remain the same, but speaker’s schedules day-of may shift slightly from this – we encourage all participants to arrive at the start and stay until the finish to ensure maximum benefit of their investment)

9:00-10:00am    Registration:

Arrive to tray-passed champagne as the professionals from Blue Star Parking & Valet greet you in style

9:00am-11:30am:  Champagne Brunch & Community |  Holden Garden

Enjoy the grand vistas from our private retreat location as you sip a Mimosa and savor a decadent brunch while connecting with colleagues and friends- old and new – with live music

11:30am-12:45pm :  Micro-Educational Power Session I |  Lehman Hall

Session A: Briefly: Santa Barbara Private Estate & County Ordinance Update

Session B: Your Financial Well-Being:  Speaker Christina Guevara of Transamerica Financial Services:  Investing in Your Retirement and Other Important Financial Advice Strategies for Small Businesses and Sole Proprietorships. The events industry is seasonal and finding the funds to invest for retirement and your future may seem impossible- but it’s not.  Ms. Guevara shares how.

12:45pm-1:15pm  Break | Light Snacks & Beverages

Enjoy longer break sessions in 2019 to connect with speakers and fellow summit participants.


1:15pm-4:15pm: Main Keynote /Workshop| Lehman Hall

by Liene Stevens of Think Splendid*

~The State of the Wedding Industry

~What To Charge (applicable to any wedding business)

~What Your Marketing Plan Should Look Like for 2020 and Beyond and Why

~More – Stay Tuned!

4:15pm-4:45pm Break:  Heavy Snack Break

4:45pm-6:00pm:  Micro Educational Power Session II  | Lehman Hall

​Session A:  Legal Savoir Faire Speaker &  Attorney Jon Light of Light Gabler Law |  Hiring Interns:  Key Factors To Be Aware of;  “Retainer” vs. “Deposit”: which is refundable and why?;   Is It Slander or Free Speech on Online Reviews for Wedding Pro Businesses?  How far is too far? When do you respond?

Session B:  “Do Shit That Matters”.  Photographer, Artist & Speaker Mike Adams:  Re-Imagining Midlife: You’re Just Getting Warmed Up.  This hilarious and profound look at why we do what we do will leave you feeling good- and realizing that you are never too old to reinvent yourself.

6:15pm:  Sunset , Stars, Stations & Sips

Meet and Greet Keynote Speaker, Network, Collaborate, Savor Sumptuous Heavy Hors d’oeuvres and Beverages

Celebrate another great year of business in Santa Barbara!

8:00pm:  Adieu

Don’t forget your special Swag Bag and our signature Little Black Box on the way out!

Contributing Sponsors:  This event would not be possible without our contributing sponsors:  Blue Star Parking & Valet, Emily Merrill Photography, Islay Events for A/V, PacWest Blooms and Cody Floral Design, Creative Coverings, Ventura Rental (and more to come!) . Interested in a Sponsorship? We still have opportunities – from Platinum Sponsors for Speaker and Venue to rentals and live music (acoustic only).   Give us a shout-out if you would like to talk about contributing.

Music Academy of the West: Marilyn Horn House

Founder of the Santa Barbara Wedding Summit, Kerry Lee Doehr is also the Founder + CEO of Engaging Inspiration, a consultancy dedicated to leadership, communications, customer experience and education for the special event and hospitality industry.  It is a sister division to one of Santa Barbara’s most long-standing event planning consultancies Santa Barbara Wine Country Weddings & Events